Perfect game, except for one error

The umpire’s. . . .

An umpire’s tears and admission he blew a call failed to move baseball commissioner Bud Selig to award Armando Galarraga the perfect game he pitched. The play and its aftermath quickly became the talk of the sports world and beyond, even to the White House.

Selig said Thursday that Major League Baseball will look at expanded replay and umpiring, but didn't specifically address umpire Jim Joyce’s botched call Wednesday night that cost Galarraga the perfect game — 27 batters up, 27 batters down. No hits, no walks, no errors.

A baseball official familiar with the decision confirmed to The Associated Press that the call was not being reversed. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because that element was not included in Selig’s statement.

Joyce said he erred on what would’ve been the final out in Detroit, when he called Cleveland’s Jason Donald safe at first base. The umpire personally apologized to Galarraga and hugged him after the Tigers’ 3-0 win, then took the field at Comerica Park on Thursday in tears.

via – Selig won’t reverse ump’s mistake on perfect game.

Click “comments” to see a photo of the play and to consider a question.

Baseball gave George Brett his homerun back after it was disqualifed due to pine tar on his bat, which was a genuine though technical rule violation.  Shouldn’t this call be reversed?

Update from the road

Well, our trip to Oklahoma has taken a different turn. We came here to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. The day we got to Oklahoma, though, we learned that my wife’s father’s wife–who had been in the hospital for a relatively minor operation–caught an infection and just died! (Shouldn’t the hospital be liable for something like that? The reason I addressed her like I did is that they married late in life, and she really didn’t serve as my wife’s mother or step-mother. In fact, my wife introduced them!) Anyway, we’re going back and forth across the state, going from celebration to grief and back again.

As I said, I’ll be posting when I can. Thanks for those of you “jonesing” for your Cranach fix. The guest blogger idea for later is an intriguing one. I’ll be gone for a longer stretch in July, so I’ll see what I can do. (Stewart has run off and gotten married and will probably still be honeymooning, so I won’t ask him to help set that up. But I have some ideas.)

Setting public policy according to the Word

Some politicians want to set public policy according to the teachings of the Word. In doing so, they are trying to set up a theocratic government. Right now, the most powerful of these Christian Taliban is evidently Nancy Pelosi. Here is what the pro-abortion Speaker of the House had to say:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says she believes she must pursue public policies “in keeping with the values” of Jesus Christ, “The Word made Flesh.”

Pelosi, who is a Catholic and who favors legalized abortion, voted against the ban on partial-birth abortion that was enacted into law in 2003.

At a May 6 Catholic Community Conference on Capitol Hill, the speaker said: “They ask me all the time, ‘What is your favorite this? What is your favorite that? What is your favorite that?’ And one time, ‘What is your favorite word?’ And I said, ‘My favorite word? That is really easy. My favorite word is the Word, is the Word. And that is everything. It says it all for us. And you know the biblical reference, you know the Gospel reference of the Word.”

“And that Word,” Pelosi said, “is, we have to give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be in keeping with the values of the Word. The Word. Isn’t it a beautiful word when you think of it? It just covers everything. The Word.

“Fill it in with anything you want. But, of course, we know it means: ‘The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.’ And that’s the great mystery of our faith. He will come again. He will come again. So, we have to make sure we’re prepared to answer in this life, or otherwise, as to how we have measured up.”

So what I want to know is this: Are all Christian right wingers now going to defend her? And are all secular leftists going to try to vote her out of office, knowing her true agenda?

Actually, liberal Christians have been talking this way since the Social Gospel of the 19th century and continuing into every convention of the National Council of Churches, which spends most of its time passing political and always leftwing resolutions.

Conservative Christians getting involved in politics are late-comers to that party, and they don’t always base their activism in a theonomic agenda, despite the left scaring itself with the prospect.

How does Speaker Pelosi’s statement show the problems with this approach? What is a legitimate way for a Christian to be guided by the Word in forming opinions about public policy?

Summertime, and the livin’ is busy

This is shaping up to be a busy summer for me, with lots of travelling, for business, for pleasure, and for business and pleasure. We set out today for Oklahoma and my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary celebration, to be followed by my last Concordia Publishing House board meeting. So I’ll be on the road for awhile. I still intend to keep blogging, as I can, but I might not be as regular a poster as I have usually been. I am touched and deeply moved when I miss posting a day and readers start worrying about my health and if I am alive or not. This summer if I miss a post, I probably am still alive, though if not, someone will probably make an announcement. But keep checking this blog. I am planning some fun and meaningful activities for you later this summer.

Pitch a new TV show

Lost is over. Law and Order and Numb3rs are cancelled. The networks need to come up with new programming and are searching for the next Lost. So far, program directors seem to be coming up with new ideas like these: Let’s have another police procedural! And to make it new, we’ll have it be just like our other police procedurals, only it’ll take place in a different city! Let’s have a situation comedy about a bumbling husband with a wife out of his league and some smart aleck kids! And when audiences get tired of that, let’s do another one just like it!

We can do better than that. What would be some good ideas for television series? I’ll go first:

(1) Washington Espionage. Set in the Cold War of the 1970s. The main character is a counter-intelligence agent with the CIA, but it includes a web of spies from all sides, their handlers, and their targets. Stories hinge on CIA, KGB, and other agents recruiting traitors, turning double agents, spycraft, and living their lives while hiding their true identities.

(2) School Days. Follows a group of incoming college freshmen at a state university and their progress from year to year until they graduate (whereupon, after four years, the series ends, or starts up again with a new class). We see their friendships, temptations, loves, and struggles. Also what they learn, the things they get into–from radical politics to campus Christianity–and how they grow up during their years at school. (I realize that the networks would probably focus on frat parties and sex in the dorms, but still. . . )

(3) Church. Follows a small-town pastor as he deals with the problems, the crises, and the joys of the people in his congregation. We get to know the families in his parish and watch how the pastor ministers to them. Sometimes the issues he deals with are humorous. Sometimes they are life-and-death serious (troubled marriages, rebellious kids, suicides, addictions, health problems). Each episode includes a scene at church, where we hear a snippet of the sermon and see all of the people in all of their problems come together for worship.

Wouldn’t these make good series? These brief paragraphs, by the way, are called “pitches” and are exactly what go before the network executives who sometimes invest millions on as little to go on. Any of you Hollywood producers who read this blog, if you want to use any of these ideas, fine, but give credit and a cut of the profits where they are do. Now your turn. . . .

Martin Luther’s Body

I was browsing through the library, when imagine my surprise when I saw the latest issue of the American Historical Review with a big picture of Luther and Melanchthon on the cover.  The lead article is entitled “Martin Luther’s Body,” focusing on how fat he was (contrasting to the skinniness of the medieval saints) and on how his language, thinking, acting, and theology were all so physical.

The article is alternatively humorous (as when the author discusses and defends Luther’s scatalogical language), absurd (discussing the social construction of the body), and insightful (relating Luther’s physicality to that of Lutheran spirituality, with its insistence–against both Catholicism and other Protestantism–that Christ’s presence in the Sacrament is physical and in physical bread).  She also notes Lutheranism’s embrace of the physical realm, in its relatively positive views of sex, food and drink, the body, and earthly life (what we would call “vocation”).  The thing is, the scholar seems to get Luther and Lutheranism!

Like most scholarly journals, this one is only available online with a subscription, but here is a description from the journal’s press release:

Lyndal Roper takes a fresh look at Martin Luther in the April 2010 issue of the American Historical Review, focusing on the way depictions emphasizing Luther's “monumentality” and his own relationship to his body informed the theology of Lutheranism.

“This was a man whose body was fundamental to his personality,” writes Roper, a fellow and tutor in history at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Unlike saints and other pious figures, whose thinness illustrated their aversion or indifference to the temptations of the flesh, Luther’s stoutness was an unmistakable feature of his iconographic representations, she notes. . . .

In “Martin Luther’s Body: The ‘Stout Doctor’ and His Biographers,” Roper explores the way Luther constantly referred to the body — and specifically his body — in his writings and pronouncements, especially in the famous Table Talk.

Rather than seeing his preoccupation with the body as a character defect or neurosis, she proposes that Luther “offered a religious worldview that did not separate soul and body but incorporated a robust, redoubtable, and often mucky physicality.” Luther’s physicality — “his bulk, his digestion, his anality” — was intrinsic to his theology, including his views of the devil, she writes. Portraits of “the stout doctor” during and shortly after his life helped establish the emerging identity of Lutheranism.

via AHR for April: Luther’s body, suicide in Africa, the state in South Asia: IU News Room: Indiana University.